Memories Of Runyan Lake
By Howard Lyon
I first started to go to Runyan Lake when I was nine months old, and spent most summers there until I was twelve. From then until I entered service at eighteen this was my principal residence. I spent the sixth, seventh and eighth grades at a little brick school house two miles from the cottage, and the next four years at Fenton High School. I count myself as one of the luckiest people on earth – I had grandparents who took me in, raised me as if I were their own, and gave me love, understanding, and an education.
Runyan Lake is one of the loveliest places, in a pristine location called Tyrone Hills. We lived on the North side, which was called Walnut Shores and looked across the lake at trees and hills, as there were few cottages on the south side of the lake. Summers were filled with such activities as swimming, fishing and sailing. Winter, which could be very severe, was a time for ice-skating, skiing and ice fishing. My favorite time of the year was Autumn. I would race for home, grab great-grand-dads old double barrel shot gun and head for the woods, where I would hunt until dark. I shot so many rabbits and pheasants, that grandpa complained about eating too much wild game. Grandma Lyon would can the meat to eat in non-hunting months.
One of the chores that Noel and I had was the trip to Clintons farm for milk and eggs. It was a one-mile walk and we would carry a galvanized milk pail. Sometimes we waited until they finished milking the cows and ran the liquid through a separator. When it was poured into the pail, the milk would still be warm from the cow’s body temperature. (Milk was 25 cents a gallon and eggs l5 cents a dozen.)
Runyan Lake always reminded me of a giant green gem. It was very deep and fed mainly from underwater streams. The water was always clear and clean and you could make out objects twenty feet away when swimming underwater. One of our past-times was to anchor a boat in very deep water. Each person would have a clothespin with his name on it. The one who could swim down the deepest and put his pin on the rope would win the contest. We used to go so deep that it was very dark and scary.
One of our favorite times was in the evening. After dinner all of us kids would gather on the end of someone’s dock. We all had blankets to cover ourselves so the mosquitoes wouldn’t eat us alive. We would all take turns relating what we would do for a living when we grew up, the kind of car we would drive, the place where we would live. Little did we realize that we were living and enjoying the best times of our lives. World War Two had started and changed our lives forever.